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Ukrainian Daredevil “Mustang Wanted” Now Officially Wanted in Russia

Mustang Wanted in action. Anonymous image circulated online.

Mustang Wanted in action. Anonymous image circulated online.

Skyscraper-climber Mustang Wanted is a man used to high places, but his latest exploits have taken him to dangerous new heights, including a warrant for his arrest in Russia. Following Mustang's confession that he decorated a Moscow skyscraper’s crowning star with the Ukrainian flag and colors, Russian police put out an order for his arrest. Not surprisingly, Ukraine's authorities promptly refused to comply.

Mustang, whose real name is allegedly Pavel Ushyvets, says he sold footage of the act for $5,000 to Russian television and donated the funds to a Ukrainian volunteer battalion, for which he received the 2014 Troublemaker Award.   

Last week, a Moscow judge placed Mustang on an international wanted list (currently limited to the CIS states, and not involving the Interpol), charging him with hooliganism and vandalism. The arrest warrant suggests that Russian authorities have no interest in Mustang's offer to turn himself in peacefully, in exchange for the release of Ukrainian military pilot Nadezhda Savchenko, who's currently in pretrial detention in Voronezh.

In a Facebook post, Anton Gerashchenko, an advisor at the Ukrainian Ministry of Internal Affairs, stated that the Ukrainian government has no plans to extradite Mustang. Article 25 of the Ukrainian Constitution, Gerashchenko said, ensures that no Ukrainian citizen can be extradited for trial abroad.  Gerashchenko praised Mustang for his actions, celebrating their global scope and the symbolic insult they had delivered to Russia.  

Это тот самый Герой Украины, который взобравшись на одну из сталинских высоток в Москве, сам, один, за ночь раскрасил звезду венчавшую шпиль, в цвета украинского национального флага и сделал фото обошедшее весь мир! Чем поверг в большое уныние Кремль и одурманенных пропагандой Москвичей.  И напротив, вызвал восторг своей смелостью и смекалкой у украинцев и всего мира. . . Мы украинцы сильная и креативная нация, а Павел – один из лучших ее сынов!

This is the same Hero of Ukraine who climbed one of Stalin's towers in Moscow, the one who single-handedly, in one night, painted the tower’s crowning star in the colors of the Ukrainian national flag. He took a photo that's traveled the whole world! That photo struck at the heart of the Kremlin and all the Muscovites drugged on Russian propaganda. It also inspired Ukrainians and the whole world with its bravery and daring. We Ukrainians are a strong and creative nation, and Pavel is one of its greatest sons.

Interestingly, Gerashchenko went on to say that to spite the Russian authorities, Mustang would be changing his legal name, and that the Ukrainian government would be happy to help.  There was no official word as to what that name would be or if it would help him evade arrest. However, Russian opposition politician Boris Nemtsov speculated on Facebook that Mustang was actually changing his name to “Vladimir Putin,” which caused much mirth among the RuNet users.

Сегодня он заявил, что сменит ФИО на Владимира Путина. Украинские законы позволяют это легко сделать. И пусть Владимира Владимировича Путина объявляют в международный розыск.

He announced today [September 12] that he's changing his name to Vladimir Putin. Ukrainian laws allow to do this easily. And then let Vladimir Putin be wanted internationally.

In addition to being inspiring, Mustang’s high-climbing feats have been increasingly lucrative. After selling a video of his star-painting climb to the pro-Kremlin news outfit LifeNews for $5,000, Mustang donated the money to Semen Semenchenko, the leader of the anti-separatist Donbas battalion. The militia group, based in Dnipropetrovsk, functions as an autonomous volunteer battalion in Ukraine's “anti-terrorist operation.” Mustang has made his support for Ukrainian armed forces clear in the past, posting pictures of himself in body armor alongside Ukrainian soldiers with the hashtag #UkrainianRevolution.

In honor of his Moscow skyscraper stunt, his advocacy for Savchenko, and his donation to Semenchenko, Pavel recently earned the 2014 Troublemaker Award, which comes with $10,000. The award, given by Moscow-born and Boston-based entrepreneur Semyon Dukach, aims to reward the “good kind of trouble making […] when you take a risk and bend social norms for a greater good.” Past winners of the Award include Nadia Tolokonnikova of Pussy Riot and young American educational activist Zack Kopplin. Dukach recently told Radio Free Europe why he chose to decorate Mustang.  

То, что он сделал в Москве, офигенно! То, что сделал Мустанг – это гуманно, он никого не убивал, он нанес максимальный удар по символике, в Москве на звезду эту красную вывесил флаг.  Первое было это, потом призыв освободить Савченко, которая точно не виновата, и третье – шутка или не шутка, что 5 тысяч долларов он взял с LifeNews за видео и отдал их Семенченко в батальон “Донбасс” и посмеялся над LifeNews.  Мне кажется, это прекрасно.

What he did in Moscow was awesome! What Mustang did was humane, he killed no one, he delivered the maximum strike through a symbol, in Moscow, hanging the flag on this red star. First he did this, then he called for the freeing of Savchenko, who is definitely innocent, and third, whether it's a joke or not, he gave the 5,000 dollars he took from LifeNews to Semenchenko and the Donbas Battalion and laughed at LifeNews. To me, that’s wonderful.

Left to right: Pussy Riot's Maria Alyokhina, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, and Semyon Dukach. Image from Facebook.

It's anybody's guess where Mustang heads next. To the east, arrest and prison time await him in Russia. To the west, there are $10,000 with his name on them. Wherever he goes, Mustang's adventures will likely make for good entertainment on YouTube, where his videos have attracted more than 100,000 subscribers and more than 13 million views.

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